2nd Annual Kay Marie Sisto Memorial Event Held

By KBJR News 1

May 20, 2012 Updated May 20, 2012 at 10:39 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) A countless number of women fall victim to domestic violence each year in the United States.

Two years ago, Kay Marie Sisto was traveling to visit her father when she was shot and killed by her estranged husband.

Twin Ports community members gathered to walk, run or roll in her honor on Sunday.

The sounds of a single bell could be heard throughout the crowd of walkers and runners behind the Willard Munger Inn.

A sound that for some is a tool for remembrance, and for some attendees a tool for awareness.

"We really want our message to not only be help and support for victims, but really about accountability for the people that are causing the abuse; because that's what it's going to take to stop domestic violence is for people to change their behavior", said Executive Director of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Program Linda Riddle.

The Kay Marie Sisto Memorial 5 or 10K is in its second year and many organizers say that attending one of these programs helps to raise awareness of domestic abuse and violence.

"For everybody that does that they learn more about domestic violence, they become more committed to the cause and so it's just a great community event", said Riddle.

Recent statistics show that one in three Minnesotan women have the chance of falling victim to domestic or sexual abuse and even with those massive odds some citizens still have no idea of what's happening right here in our community.

"Ya know I think we get to the point where we think things like this don't really happen anymore but they do",said Sen. Roger Reinert.
"They happen in our community. They happen more often than we would like them to. We can't just say someone else is going to take care of that. We as citizens have to empower ourselves."

Empowerment for some is joining the cause like the Sisto Memorial. For others it might result in confronting a loved one, but the message from the memorial walk, run, or roll is knowledge is key.

"It takes a community, and the more we know about domestic violence whether we're talking to our neighbor or family member", said Riddle. "Anybody can do those things it doesn't take a specially talented or skilled person to just stand with someone, listen to them and support them and in doing so we're we could be saving somebody's live and not even realize it at the time."

Around 200 people showed up to take part in the memorial event.

Written and posted by Shawn Frost.